Sure, it would be easy for us to fill out this countdown with 25 gloryboy WRs or RBs or QBs. Maybe throw in an occasional safety or DB to appear unbiased and like we know football. It would be a Jon Gruden-esque complimentkakke where we heap things like “high motor” or “football IQ” on a player that already gets lauded enough by fans, media, and most every sorority on campus. The Belt ain’t about that life.
We owe it to you, the reader, the best 25 examples of who to watch out for this season as you get your MACtion on throughout the Rust Belt, glory be damned. So it’s fitting that we take the HOT COUNTDOWN TAKE today with our first salvo in the War on the Offseason as our Top 25 MAC Player Countdown opens with a special teamer. Not just any special teamer, though. A special teamer that is truly. . . special. Yeah, that was bad. I’ll just go ahead and see myself out.
MAC Player Countdown #25: Christian Hagan, K, Northern Illinois
Hagan, a Omaha, Nebraska native, comes into his junior season fresh off a 1st Team All-MAC season, one that saw him score at least one point in every game the Huskies played. For those of you wondering how a kicker makes the list, consider that. Even the most pedestrian of kickers are likely to lead your team in scoring. They matter.
Hagan successfully converted 14 of his 18 field goal attempts and 52 of his 54 PAT attempts. The true test of a kicker, between the 30 and 40 yard line, saw him go 5/5 in 2015. But accuracy wasn’t his only claim to fame. He also was 4/4 on attempts over 40 yards and converted a 52-yard attempt against Toledo, helping him win the Specialist of the Week Award.
He’s also transitioned over to handle kickoffs, averaging 59.1 yards per boot in the 2015 season with 13 touchbacks on 53 attempts.
Why a Top 25 MACthlete?
The easiest answer is because he’s pretty darn good. The better answer is that NIU is the kind of program that special teams is as steady as they come, contributing more than a little to the situation at hand where NIU quite rarely beats themselves. Having a veteran kicker, cold as ice, capable of both distance and accuracy is a considerably better place to be than the alternative. With Hagan, the Huskies know that even in the unlikely event that a drive stalls out, if they’re inside the 40 yard line, they’re walking away with points.
Hagan not only excelled on the field, he excelled in the classroom, landing an academic All-MAC nod, as well as a MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete award. So whether it’s kicking game-winning field goals or helping you with your calculus, Hagan’s got you covered.
Video Proof of Awesomeness:
High school recruitment film? Check. Arena League uprights? Check. Kick after kick after kick true as can be? Check. And look at that high five action! Like a boss.